Michigan Drone Pilot Explains Rules All Operators Must Follow

Hey there, and welcome to another episode of Tips & Tech Talk. I am your host Ron, a Michigan drone pilot. Today I’m here with a fellow licensed drone pilot, Connor Steinwascher from Aerial Coverage. And today we’re going to be flying our drones, we’re both flying our DJI Phantom 4 Pros by Jimmy Johns Field behind Eppler. But ultimately we’re here to talk about the big topics of the drone world today. One of the most common asked questions I get is, where can I fly?

Where can’t I fly? So let’s talk about some on the no fly zone lists. Where can people fly their drones, and where can’t people fly their drones?

Connor Steinwascher:

Usually it depends on airspace and understanding the types of airspace you’re in, so lets break it down pretty simple here.

Here on the east side of Michigan, we have Selfridge Air National Guard. And what that means is, you cannot fly anywhere around that air force base, right? You cannot fly around any airports. You cannot fly around any temporary flight restriction zones, such as sporting events, such as Tigers games, Lions games, Red Wing Games. You are also not allowed to fly over any type of Presidential movement.

Ron Robinson:

So like when President Trump was here a couple of months ago, the airspace was shut down.

Connor Steinwascher:

Correct, basically. So the airspace coming from M53 to M59 and M59 north to about 31 mile was all a TFR zone up until about 10,000 feet.

Ron Robinson:

So, as far as other rules and regulations, as far as where you can and can’t fly, a lot of people wonder, can you fly over someone’s house?

Connor Steinwascher:

There is a lot of misconceptions usually about where can you fly a drone, and when can you fly a drone?

And I think the biggest one, that especially doing real estate, is flying over people’s houses. You are able to. Anything above someone’s house is all national airspace, and it’s all federally regulated. So as much as it doesn’t sound great, right? It’s our national airspace. And when you think about it on a bigger perspective, there are planes flying in the sky and helicopters flying in the sky all the time above people’s houses.

Ron Robinson:

Right, with that said that doesn’t give you the license to be a jerk and to try to bully somebody.

Connor Steinwascher:

Not at all. If you are ever concerned that someone’s not following the laws, you know that they may be a professional pilot, things along those lines, you’re able to go to https://www.faa.gov/uas/ and file a complaint.

Ron Robinson:

So, a lot of people know that you have to keep a drone under four hundred feet. You have to keep it within line of sight. But there’s a lot of rules and regulations that a certified licensed pilot has to adhere to. Talk to me about some of the lesser known rules that are mandatory for pilots.

Connor Steinwascher:

It’s flight over people. So you technically cannot fly a drone directly over somebody that is not part of the operation.

Ron Robinson:

Another common issue among drone pilots is what the FAA is doing to regulate these rules. Talk a little bit about that, would you?

Connor Steinwascher:

Yeah, so one of the big misconceptions that people don’t fully understand is that the FAA is fully for drones. At least, that’s what the leadership board shows. They are just like any other type of government though, where they do move very slowly. So their drone regulation right now are behind. Part 107 came out and blanketed over everything. So as we move into this fall for example, we’re looking at new initiatives by the FAA to make things easier for pilots to file for waivers and loosen some of these laws, so these pilots can fully use drones to the maximum potential that drones can be used for.

Ron Robinson:

I’ve been following this since drones were first introduced to the public back in 2011-2012. That is when I first started following and getting involved in drones, and the FAA has been right there in lockstep with some of the luminaries and some of the advocates for the drone industry.

So I’ve been very pleased with the FAA’s involvement. The truth of the matter is these things are so rock solid, whether you’re talking about DJI or any other companies. With that technology in mind, the fact that they are rock solid, what impact, if any, will that have on the FAA regarding future regulation?

Connor Steinwascher:

Yeah, so I think as the technology advances and we see these drones become a little bit safer, I think the FAA is going to start guiding back the more and allowing more operations that they currently restrict.

Ron Robinson:

Because there are some current autonomous drones, like the Uber drone, the deicer.

Talk about some of these drones that people may not know about. What exactly are the type of future of drones they talk about?

Connor Steinwascher:

Yeah. Right now, Uber is getting ready to launch passenger drones over in Dubai. So it was one of their big proposed things. So when you order an Uber over in Dubai, what you might be getting into is a drone.

Drones being used for de-icing and drones being used to spray and lift different things. Over in Sweden right now they’re doing testing that different drones that connect to a hose, and they’ll be able to de-ice wind turbines, airplanes, and very other large objects at a much quicker rate you are typically doing now.

Ron Robinson:

So what would you say to somebody who uses a drone and maybe isn’t a licensed drone pilot? I’m of the belief that even if you do this for a hobby, I think you should still go and take the test. What’s your thoughts on this?

Connor Steinwascher:

If you’re flying drones and you want to continue to be safe, it’s always better to know what you can and can’t do before you do something you can’t do and you end up getting in trouble for it.

Ron Robinson:

Or someone gets hurt. All right I want to thank Connor for joining me today on Tips & Tech Talk.

If you like this video please share it with your friends, hit that like icon. Also go to my YouTube channel share that with all your friends subscribe if you haven’t done already and of course you can see more of my work at ronrobinsonstudios.com thanks for joining me. We’ll see you next time.

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